The 5th International Winter School Comparative Studies on Adult and Lifelong Learning has already started in Würzburg, Bavaria. From 5th to 16th February 2018 more than 60 students from 15 countries will join an experience focused on Adult Education at global level. The program intends to support the creation of a European community of adult educators able to compare models and to learn from best practices.
According to that, the didactical model is based on a comparative methodology organized in two phases. In the first week of lectures theories and disciplinary approaches are presented for creating a common background on lifelong learning strategies, with the contribution of relevant stakeholders as EAEA, Cedefop, Unesco Institute for Lifelong Learning. In the second one, instead, Winter School is divided in ten groupwork in which scholars and students deepen specific topics of Adult Education: from the development of employability to professionalization, from health education to innovative teaching methods. Each student (from Master’s or Doctorate Courses) illustrates his home country standpoint and shares views and analysis with other participants to reach a common overview. From this work, the groups elaborate a research question and a common comparison among states following the methodological process of juxtaposition, analysis and interpretation (Bray, Thomas 1995).
As we can clearly observe, the comparative approach is extremely important for the creation of a community of professionals in adult education at global level. Sharing a two-week long intense experience, in which formal learning and informal activities are organized next to each other, is a unique opportunity for creating network among participants, teachers as well as students. It is decisive for further development too: in these years we observed many cases of new international mobility or research cooperation born in Würzburg. In a future perspective, the importance of International Winter School Comparative Studies on Adult and Lifelong Learning has an impact also outside the project boundaries. In fact, it has created a real community of practices at international level, in which scholars, experts and young professionals can exchange ideas and tools for creating a more inclusive Europe.